Crucial resources to strengthen the desire to live: Experiences of suicidal patients

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Suicidality is a life-and-death struggle in deep loneliness and psychological pain. There is a lack of knowledge about what could help the suicidal patients' struggle for continued life. The aim of this study was to develop a deeper understanding of suicidal patients in the aftermath of suicidal attempts. The research question was ‘What resources in the person himself or herself and his or her surroundings are crucial in a suicidal crisis to maintaining the will to live and hope for life’?


The study has a hermeneutic approach and an explorative design. Data were collected using semi-structured interviews with 10 participants: men and women 21-52 years of age. The context was two emergency psychiatric units and one crisis resolution team.

Ethical considerations:

The participants signed an informed consent before the interviews were conducted.


This article presents three themes: (a) becoming aware of the desire to live, (b) an experience of connectedness and (c) someone who cares.


The suicidal person's awareness of wishes, dreams, hopes and will, but also of their feelings in the aftermath of the suicide attempt, seemed to play a crucial role in a suicidal crisis. Experiences of connectedness remind the person of the responsibility in his or her own life and in the lives of others and seemed to strengthen the urge to go on. Private and professional relationships seem to be crucial in stimulating the desire and hope to go on living.


Becoming aware of the desire to live, being connected to others and experiencing someone who cares is necessary for life. Both private and professional networks seemed to be important resources that could remind the suicidal person of his or her own dignity as part of being human.

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